You need to see a doctor, but you’re on COVID lockdown and you’re worried about spreading or contracting the disease if you go into your doctor’s office. Or maybe your doctor is worried about having too many patients in the practice at the same time. Or maybe you live remotely and don’t want to drive all the way into town to see a doctor, or you just don’t have time to fit an office visit into your busy schedule.
Fortunately, it’s easy to use telemedicine to see a doctor and get medications prescribed online. It’s perfectly legal to consult with a doctor and even get a prescription online in many states, and you can have your prescription delivered if you don’t want to or can’t go pick it up. If you’re under the weather and don’t want to get out of bed, or just need a convenient way to get your prescriptions renewed, here’s what you need to do.
Make Sure Your Insurance Covers Telemedicine
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many states have passed laws expanding access to telehealth services and requiring insurers to cover telemedical services. Even as late as spring 2021, states were revamping their laws to expand access via this powerful format.
Figure out what the law is in your state and talk to your insurance provider to find out how many telehealth visits are covered, what kind of services your coverage pays for, and what copays and out-of-pocket expenses you can expect. Often, insurers offer lower copays and fewer out-of-pocket costs if you’re willing to see a doctor online, because virtual visits tend to be cheaper than in-person ones.
Choose a Virtual Provider
You don’t necessarily have to go to a new doctor if your current doctor offers teleconference appointments. Many doctors these days are offering the option to meet virtually with patients, especially for minor conditions and management for previously diagnosed conditions. A virtual visit with your existing doctor could be as simple as a phone call asking for a refill of your prescription. Your doctor may ask questions about how you’ve been feeling, including any side effects, before refilling your prescription.
However, if you don’t have a regular doctor, or your regular doctor doesn’t offer telehealth visits, you can choose an online telehealth provider to conduct your appointment. It’s easy and fast to sign up for a virtual doctor’s visit using a digital platform that offers access to telehealth. See a doctor and get your prescriptions refilled quickly with an online service like Plushcare. In addition to help for physical issues, you can also get psychiatric treatment and psychotherapy.
Get Your Prescription Refilled
Most doctors practicing telehealth won’t hesitate to write a prescription for a minor ailment like the cold or flu, a sinus infection, acne, herpes, or acid reflux. It’s also pretty easy to get your prescription filled for chronic conditions that you’re managing at home, like diabetes or high cholesterol. If you’re seeing a new doctor online, make sure to enter your medical history into the platform as requested so your doctor can see it. Talk to your doctor about your medical history and make sure you ask to have your prescription refilled. Have the doctor send your prescription to your regular pharmacy. If you’re too ill to go pick it up, most pharmacies will deliver it to your home, and many are even waiving delivery fees in the midst of COVID outbreaks.
Know When to See a Doctor in Person
Telemedicine can be appropriate and effective for a wide range of minor complaints and ailments that don’t require serious intervention. It’s also a great option for managing chronic conditions that require frequent check-ups and prescription refills. But you should know when it’s time to head to the ER or urgent care for in-person treatment. If you’re having a serious medical event, always go to the ER — just wear a mask and keep your hands clean while you’re in there. You may occasionally need to head to a local urgent care instead of relying on a telehealth appointment, for example if your doctor needs to take blood for blood work or needs other samples, or needs to monitor your vital signs. Whatever the reason, you’ll save yourself time, and could potentially save your own life, by seeking the right kind of care in the moment.
Getting a prescription online is easy when you use a telehealth platform to communicate with your doctor. Online doctors are real medical professionals licensed to practice in your state, and you can get the same quality of care — or better — as you’d get at your brick-and-mortar doctor’s office. There’s no need to drag yourself out of bed when you’re sick. Just have a quick virtual chat with a doctor and you can be on your way to feeling better in no time.